The Louisville Cardinals have played two really ugly games so far in the NCAA Tournament and are now about to take on a very young and talented Kentucky Wildcats team in the Sweet 16. Will those ugly games help Louisville beat the Wildcats? I think so and here is why.
Louisville beat a junior version of themselves when they played Manhattan in the 2nd-round, winning by seven. Every time Rick Pitino called a play, his former assistant Steve Massiello told his team what he was calling. It was ugly and gritty, but the Cards pulled it out.
In the 3rd-round Louisville beat St. Louis, 66-51. They held the Billikens to just 16 points in the first-half, of course they only scored 25. Seniors Russ Smith and Luke Hancock made the plays and shots they needed to win and advance.
Rick Pitino told his players to be the prettiest team in an ugly game and they were just that. The defense that the two teams Louisville has played makes you play ugly.
Why does this matter you ask?
Friday’s Louisville vs. Kentucky game will be a dog fight, it just will. Two rivals in the Sweet 16, you should expect nothing less than a battle until the end. You could say that it will be an ugly game. Both teams will have jitters, playing in Lucus Stadium alone will make even the most experienced teams get flabbergasted in the first couple minutes.
Louisville will force Kentucky to play even uglier. Let me rephrase that a little bit, Russ Smith will force Kentucky to play ugly.
Can Kentucky respond?
Sure they can, the Wichita State game showed that the new Wildcats can play through adversity. Can they respond to an ugly game? Now to me that is the question.
An ugly game and a close game are two different things. A close game is just where the score is close, an ugly game is where you have to fight for every point and try to out smart the other team. To me Louisville wins that game, the ugly one that is.
What are your thoughts? Comment below.